Quarterly scientific journal

Functional disability of ischemic stroke patients

Georgia Karkouli , Theodore Kapadochos


Stroke is the third leading cause of death and the first cause of disability, in the developed countries and it is frequently described by the literature as a major global health problem. It is estimated that stroke is responsible for approximately 4.5 million deaths per year and over 9 million stroke survivors, globally. Aim: The aim of the present study was to review the literature about the consequences of functional disability that stroke imposes on the survivors’ life and to shortly describe functional instruments used in evaluation of stroke patients. The method οf this study included bibliography research from both the review and the research literature, mainly in the pub med data base which referred to the functional disability of stroke patients, as well as to the scales used for the evaluation of functional state. Results: Despite the accurate diagnosis and the recent therapeutic advances, stroke can still cause long-term disability in the majority of patients which induces significant changes between the patient and his environment. The results of recent studies indicate that the loss of independence that experience stroke survivals has significant consequences on their quality of life and it is likely to lead to family-crisis and social isolation. It is also widely accepted that the economic impact of stroke is considerable, worldwide. Recovery of functional disability after stroke is influenced by many variables, of which the main are the initial severity of stroke, the level of deficit and the level of social and family support. Ιn clinical practise many measurement instruments are applied and capable of providing assessments of functional ability and other related concepts since it is well documented that evaluation of functional state is a matter of great importance for the assessment of patients’ outcome. Conclusions: As it is supported by published evidence, rehabilitation of neurological deficit in conjunction with appropriate therapeutic interventions focused on the psychological, familial and social problems that face patients after the discharge of the hospital can significantly improve their quality of life.

Keywords: Stroke, functional disability, loss of independence

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